Letter From the Director: New RE-JOIN Consortium Awards Seek to Understand Pain Signals in Joints to Reduce Pain, Limit Deterioration, and Restore Healthy Joints

Lindsey A. Criswell, M.D., M.P.H., D.Sc.

Understanding and treating joint pain is important to improving long-term health—and a fundamental part of the NIAMS mission. With that in mind, NIAMS is supporting a new Consortium that may lead us closer to ultimately being able to restore joint health. The Restoring Joint Health and Function to Reduce Pain (RE-JOIN) Consortium, part of the Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®, will bring together multiple research teams to create 3-D maps of the different types of sensory neurons found in two important joints of the body: the knee and the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), better known as the jaw joint. This research aims to discover how neurons from these different joints influence and create the sensation of pain, which could potentially lead to novel, more precise therapies for reducing joint pain and deterioration—as well as restoring healthy joints. 

Please read our recently published director’s letter announcing the awards.


Now Accepting Applications: The Team Science Leadership Scholars Program in Women’s Health Research

Deadline: February 20, 2023, 5 p.m. ET 

NIAMS and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) recently announced a pilot program to support and train research scholars by helping them acquire and hone team science leadership and mentoring skills. The Team Science Leadership Scholars Program (LSP) in Women’s Health, Autoimmune and Immune-Mediated Diseases is now accepting applications. The LSP is funded by ORWH and embedded within the Accelerating Medicines Partnership® Autoimmune and Immune-Mediated Diseases (AMP® AIM) program. This joint initiative aligns NIAMS’ goal of supporting team science and collaboration with the ORWH vision of preparing leaders in women’s health research. Please refer to the funding opportunity announcement from the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation for further information and instructions on how to apply. 

Datasets From AMP RA/SLE Available to the Public in New ARK Portal

The Arthritis and Autoimmune and Related Diseases Knowledge (ARK) Portal is a virtual resource that accumulates, organizes, and links core datasets generated by research teams focused on arthritis, autoimmune, skin, and related diseases. Directed by NIAMS and developed and maintained by Sage Bionetworks, the ARK Portal will house a broad and diverse portfolio of datasets – the first of which will come from the Accelerated Medicines Partnership® Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (AMP® RA/SLE). Access to the datasets on the portal is free to the public; however, some datasets will require users to register and agree to a data-use agreement.

Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Funding Plan

NIAMS is operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) through December 16, 2022. An interim funding plan is under development and will be posted as soon as it is available.


Workshop Explores Strategies to Tackle Health Disparities in Osteoarthritis

Workshop Explores Strategies to Tackle Health Disparities in Osteoarthritis
A 2-day virtual workshop sponsored by NIAMS, the National Institute on Aging, and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities explored how understanding disparities can lead to better health in osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis investigators and health disparities researchers convened to discuss why inequities in osteoarthritis treatment outcomes and access to care exist—and how to address these challenges. Read a full meeting summary on this NIAMS webpage.

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Celebrating One Year of the BGTC

October 27, 2022, marked the first anniversary of the Accelerating Medicines Partnership® Bespoke Gene Therapy Consortium, a public-private initiative focused on making gene therapy more accessible for rare genetic disorders.

Robotic Leg

Robotic Exoskeleton Helps People Walk

An NIH-funded research team created a robotic leg exoskeleton that provides personalized walking assistance under real-world conditions. Participant testing resulted in an average 9 percent improvement in walking speed and a 17 percent lower energy expenditure. This technology opens the door to a broader use of exoskeletons to assist individuals with physical impairments.

A person with back pain

U.S. National Survey Identifies Associations Between Chronic Severe Back Pain and Disability

According to an analysis of national survey data, 8.2 percent of American adults have chronic severe back pain, and about three-quarters of those with chronic severe back pain have difficulties with mobility, social participation, self-care, or work participation. The analysis echoed previous findings linking comorbidities and lifestyle factors—such as work and sociodemographic factors—to low back pain severity and persistence.

A woman riding a boat

NIH’s Climate and Health Initiative Tackles Global Health Effects Associated With a Changing Climate

A coalition of leaders at NIH outline how the NIH Climate Change and Health Initiative is uniquely poised to lead and engage with communities and agencies globally to address the health effects associated with climate change.

NCCIH Director

Letter From the NCCIH Director: Entering a New Chapter in Understanding Myofascial Pain

When we think of research on pain and how it manifests within the physiology of the human body, myofascial tissues have been a persistently understudied part of the picture. That’s why a number of newly announced grants, funded as part of the NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®, are so noteworthy. Myofascial tissues are potentially involved in nearly all common chronic musculoskeletal pain conditions, like chronic low back pain, neck and shoulder pain, headache, and temporomandibular disorders.

Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) Is Hiring Program Managers

Do you have a bold idea that may become the next transformative health solution? Do you thrive at the cutting-edge of biomedical and health research? Find more information about becoming an ARPA-H program manager.

COVID-19 Updates: Keep up with the latest on COVID-19 with health information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and research from NIH.

Funding Opportunities

Promoting Research Opportunities on HIV/AIDS in NIAMS (NOT-AR-23-004)

Applies to due dates on or after February 5, 2023

NIAMS Clinical Trial Planning Grant (R34) – Clinical Trial Not Allowed (PAR-22-205)

Next application due date: March 3, 2023. See announcement for additional dates.

Stay Updated About Funding Announcements

If you would like information about grants and funding opportunities, subscribe to funding-dedicated email newsletters, including periodic NIAMS Funding Alerts and a monthly NIAMS Funding News email, and follow our Twitter account (@NIAMSFunding) focused on funding opportunities. Also check out the NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, the primary source for information about NIH funding opportunities. You can also request a weekly Table of Contents from the NIH Guide. In addition, the NIAMS website provides comprehensive information on NIAMS-related grants and processes.


Drosophila melanogaster intestine cross-section

Spotlight on Scientific Imagery: Drosophila Intestine

Drosophila melanogaster intestine cross-section. Stained for Actin (PhTRITC- magenta), mitochondria (mito-GFP- green), and nucleus (DAPI- blue).
Photo credit: Katti Prasanna, Ph.D., Muscle Energetics Laboratory, NIAMS and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute


Enhanced NIAMS Website Now Features Resources From the NIAMS Coalition

Do you know about the NIAMS Coalition, a group of professional and patient advocacy organizations with a shared interest in diseases related to the bones, joints, muscles, and skin? Now you can find out more. The updated Coalition Overview page and the new searchable Coalition members page feature a variety of outreach tools and information, such as grants, funding opportunities, meetings, and other resources from NIH, NIAMS, and NIAMS Coalition organizations.


January NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting (Virtual Meeting)

The next NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting will be held virtually on January 31, 2023. The meeting will be available for viewing via the NIH videocasting service. A video recording of the previous NIAMS Advisory Council Meeting on September 14, 2022, is available.

Lindsey A. Criswell

NIH Director’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series

Upcoming Lectures:

January 11, 2023
2 to 3 p.m. ET
Rory Cooper, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh
The Power of Assistive Technology to Transform Lives
Additional Information

January 18, 2023
2 to 3 p.m. ET
Gerard Karsenty M.D., Ph.D., Columbia University Medical Center
WALS Lecture With Gerard Karsenty M.D., Ph.D.
Additional Information  

February 1, 2023
2 to 3 p.m. ET
Helen Blau, Ph.D., Stanford University
Regenerating and Rejuvenating Aged Tissues by Targeting a Gerozyme
Additional Information

NIH Science Lectures and Events Available via Internet

Look for past videocasts, including:

For additional online science seminars and events hosted by the NIH, view the NIH VideoCast Future Events and the NIH calendar.